Deputies receive mental health training to deescalate situations among peers

A former Orange County corrections officer attempted suicide by police in Osceola County, according to authorities. However, responding officers stopped shooting him because they knew his fellow officer was having a mental health crisis.

Law enforcement agencies are now learning how to spot mental health issues during new training. The demolition was caught on video.

In the video obtained exclusively by FOX 35 News, a terrifying confrontation is seen along the Florida Turnpike. Officer Gabriel Garcia took the officer into custody because he was wanted on a domestic violence warrant, but it turned into something more dangerous.

“He’s yelling at me: ‘Kill me, kill me! I’m not going to live anymore! I don’t want to do this anymore!’ I’m shouting orders at him, ‘Just stop!’

Deputy Garcia said he wasn’t sure if the officer was armed, but knew he was suicidal. He said that he had his own gun ready to fire.

“He was ready if he had to, but by God, he didn’t want to. He wanted me to kill him.”

Investigators said the officer hit the run and then crashed his truck into a wooded area, where officers took him into custody.

Osceola Sheriff Marcos Lopez said, “He was a corrections officer who had lost his job due to problems with his family and personal life.”

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That’s why Sheriff Lopez created a new Mental Health Outreach Division, to teach officers how to de-escalate a situation and help their peers through difficult situations, adding crisis intervention training and more peer support.

“With the supervisor looking more for those signs, saying: let’s get closer to them, let’s try to help them.”

Deputy Garcia said the officer seemed to improve in the hospital.

“Giving someone a path to get better. It only takes 5 minutes to talk to them. A totally different person in the hospital.”

The former officer is now being held in the Osceola County Jail, facing domestic violence charges.

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